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OLYMPICS: Uganda plans to send 50, including rower

FILE PHOTO: The Uganda delegation at a previous international meet, this the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 3, 2010. All eyes on the Olympics this year.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s local Olympics organizing committee plans to send close to 30 competitors in five disciplines to Tokyo 2020.

Together with officials, Uganda’s delegation is expected to be 50, and would be the largest ever entry for Uganda since it first competed at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956.

Sixteen track and field athletes led by Joshua Cheptegei have already booked their places after great performances in the last six months, and are joined by rower, Grace Noble Kathleen.

The 24- year-old US based Kathleen qualified after winning the 2km single cull race at the 2019 Africa Rowing Regatta held in Tunisia.  Ugandan-born Kathleen is currently based in the Utah state Salt Lake City, United States of America (USA) and has competed for Uganda before.

“There are few events left for people to qualify. We still have two events for boxing to qualify, but athletes have many more opportunities,”Beatrice Ayikoru, the team’s Chef De Mission to Tokyo told Uganda Radio Network-URN.

“Six sports federations are still in the running for Olympic qualification. For swimming we will have at least two, as they are the only sport where two can be invited even if they do not qualify.”

Ayikoru is part of the local Olympics organizing committee chaired by the Sports minister and comprises officials from the National Council of Sports-NCS and Uganda Olympic Committee-UOC.

The committee is waiting for the qualification competitions to end before confirming the exact number of disciplines and athletes who will take part in the games. The other contenders are in weightlifting and rugby.

Medal Name Games Sport Event
 Silver Eridadi Mukwanga Mexico 1968 Mexico City Boxing pictogram.svg Boxing Men’s bantamweight
 Bronze Leo Rwabwogo Mexico 1968 Mexico City Boxing pictogram.svg Boxing Men’s flyweight
 Gold John Akii-Bua West Germany 1972 Munich Athletics pictogram.svg Athletics Men’s 400 metre hurdles
 Silver Leo Rwabwogo West Germany 1972 Munich Boxing pictogram.svg Boxing Men’s flyweight
 Silver John Mugabi Soviet Union 1980 Moscow Boxing pictogram.svg Boxing Men’s welterweight
 Bronze Davis Kamoga United States 1996 Atlanta Athletics pictogram.svg Athletics Men’s 400 metres
 Gold Stephen Kiprotich United Kingdom 2012 London Athletics pictogram.svg Athletics Men’s marathon

The Olympics will run from July 24-9 August 2020 in Tokyo, Japan.  206 countries including Uganda are expected to compete in 50 disciplines.

Budget for Olympics

Ayikoru, told Uganda Radio Network-URN that in 2018, the committee drew a total budget of Sh4 billion for preparations and participation in the Olympics. Some of that money,  allocated in tranches through three financial years- 2018/2019, 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, has been used in preparations – identifying federations that are most likely to deliver athletes who will qualify for the Olympics Games.

Initially, 11 federations and associations including that of basketball, volleyball, table tennis, badminton, athletics and chess were identified. Boxing, swimming, weightlifting, rugby and skateboarding athletes were also targeted.

Ayikoru says that the committee expects to send a delegation of 50 people including athletes, technical and government officials for this year’s Olympics.

The international Olympic Committee-IOC has already issued 10 free tickets  – 6 tickets are for athletes and 4 for officials – to attend.

Government has to secure tickets for the rest of the delegation.  Funds for allowances, feeding and transport costs are part of the Shillings 4 billion budget for Olympic preparations and participation.

The Secretary General of the Uganda Olympic Committee, Dr. Donald Rukare says he is optimistic Uganda will send close to 30 40 athletes, up from 21 in 2016, 15 in 2012, and the previous high of 24 in 1988.

Rukare revealed the UOC has provided support to athletes, coaches, sports administrators and through projects funded by the International Olympic Committee since 2017.

This has seen Joshua Cheptegei, Halimah Nakaayi, Esther Chebet, Jacob Kiplimo and Albert Chemutai get monthly stipends of US$1,000 for training ahead of the Olympics.

The men’s Rugby team also benefited to the tune of US$100,000 as team support among other activities.

MEDALS TABLE UGANDA

Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
Australia 1956 Melbourne 0 0 0 0
Italy 1960 Rome 0 0 0 0
Japan 1964 Tokyo 0 0 0 0
Mexico 1968 Mexico City 0 1 1 2
West Germany 1972 Munich 1 1 0 2
Soviet Union 1980 Moscow 0 1 0 1
United States 1984 Los Angeles 0 0 0 0
South Korea 1988 Seoul 0 0 0 0
Spain 1992 Barcelona 0 0 0 0
United States 1996 Atlanta 0 0 1 1
Australia 2000 Sydney 0 0 0 0
Greece 2004 Athens 0 0 0 0
China 2008 Beijing 0 0 0 0
United Kingdom 2012 London 1 0 0 1
Brazil 2016 Rio de Janeiro 0 0 0 0
Totals (15 games) 2 3 2 7

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URN & Wikipedia

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